For most of our lives, the waterfront area now known as the Harbor District hardly looked like it had any future beyond what it already was: a mixture of industry, a research facility and, sadly, brownfields from the environmental Wild West days of "Old Milwaukee."
But, thanks to the hard work of many committed folks, Milwaukee is rapidly transforming the Harbor District.
From the new Freshwater Plaza retail and residential development on 1st and Greenfield to the beautiful UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences building a couple blocks east, the area is rapidly changing.
The new Harbor View Plaza park at the foot of Greenfield Avenue is already under construction, site prep is underway for the R1ver development a bit further south along the Kinnickinnic River and, recently, Komatsu announced it would build a new factory, research, office and museum complex on the old Solvay Coke site.
There’s so much going on that I decided to take a short stroll with Harbor District Executive Director Lilith Fowler, so she could tell us more. We chatted for a Facebook Live, which you can watch here:
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.